Constitution (ratified on February 17, 1999)
Over the past few years, the specter of Lameness has descended upon the Columbia University Science Fiction Society, scattering its membership and casting a pall over the Columbia science fiction community at large. This Constitution is an attempt to reverse that trend, to galvanize the specific functions of the Society, to pave the way for future leadership, and to ensure continuity where none has existed before.
Article I: Name of the Organization
Section 1. The official name of the organization will be the Columbia University Science Fiction Society, hereafter referred to as CUSFS.
Section 2. The officers of CUSFS will make up the Executive Board of CUSFS, hereafter referred to as 'the Board.'
Article II: Purpose of the Organization
Section 1. CUSFS is chartered with the two following purposes: 1) to provide a place for Columbia University students and affiliates interested in science fiction, regardless of its specific manifestation (speculative fiction/science fiction, fantasy, horror, cyberpunk, etc.) or medium, to meet and exchange ideas and 2) to make science fiction accessible to the Columbia University community by maintaining a multimedia lending library and science fiction archive.
Section 2. The Board will perform general tasks and make basic decisions necessary for the smooth operation of CUSFS. These tasks and decisions are more formally defined in Article V.
Article III: Structure of the Organization
Section 1. In keeping with Article III, Section 1 of the Activities Board of Columbia Constitution, the general body of CUSFS must be comprised of at least two-thirds Columbia College and Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science students. Provided this majority is maintained, membership may be extended to any active student or employee of Columbia College, Barnard College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, The School of General Studies, or the various affiliated institutions and Graduate Facilities of Columbia University.
Section 2. There will be no restrictions on the number of members in the organization. Membership will be granted upon the Treasurer's receipt of yearly dues as set forth in Article I of the Bylaws.
Section 3. Members will be issued an ID Card granting them lending privileges at the CUSFS multimedia library as per Library Policy, entrance to CUSFS special events, and voting rights.
Section 4. CUSFS members will be required to attend official convocations (Article IV, Section 1), or alert the Board if an official convocation cannot be attended. Additionally, each member will be responsible for the marketing stewardship of one (or more) strategic location(s) on campus, at least one day prior to CUSFS special events (i.e. movie screenings, book signings, etc.).
Section 5. Under special circumstances, an Honorary Membership may be bestowed by decision of the Board on individuals (entities) who do not fall under the criteria listed in Article III, Section 1. This decision will be made on the basis of the individual's contributions to either CUSFS or the science fiction community at large. Honorary Members will be entitled to the benefits set forth in Article III, Section 3.
Section 6. Membership may be revoked by the Board if it deems that a member has flagrantly and repeatedly disregarded the requirements set forth in Article III, Section 4, or, in extreme situations, if the Board believes a member's presence harmful to the integrity of CUSFS.
Article IV: Meetings and Procedures
Section 1. There will be at least one official convocation of the CUSFS per semester, to be held during the first full week of classes in a place fit for such an assembly. During this convocation, the Board, the standing committees, and the membership will congregate and discuss the events calendar, allocate postering areas, and address any concerns or necessary business. Additional meetings of this nature may be scheduled depending on need, emergency situations (Article VI, Section 2) which may arise, or at the Board's discretion.
Section 2. If the general membership wishes to call a convocation, the Board must be presented with a petition signed by eight members explaining the need for a convocation at that time. Upon receipt of this document, The Board will schedule a convocation with at least two weeks notice, for a day not more than four weeks away.
Section 3. Weekly meetings, office hours, and library hours will be held as per the requirements set forth in the By-laws.
Section 4. There will be a nominations assembly held in the first half of the spring semester, as defined in the By-laws. The Board will convene and entertain nominations for the executive positions set forth in Article V, Section 1, in accordance with the procedures defined in Article V, Section 3.
Section 5. There will be an election held in the second half of the spring semester, as defined in the By-laws. The Board will convene and preside over the election of the executive positions set forth in Article V, Section 1, in accordance with the procedures defined in Article V, Section 4.
Section 6. There will be an inaugural banquet held in the last full month of the spring semester, as defined in the By-laws, at which time members of the Board who are not returning will step down and the newly elected members of the Board will assume office.
Section 7. There will be a birthday part for Bilbo and Frodo held on September 22nd or as close to that date as possible. The specifics will be addressed by the Events Committee (Article VII, Section 2)
Section 8. Trivial policy decisions will be handled entirely by the Board. Major policy decisions will be decided by a one-half majority vote during an official convocation with a quorum of members, where a quorum is considered eight CUSFS members, of which no fewer than two but no more than three will be Board members. The distinction between the two types of policy decision is dependent completely upon the guiding wisdom of the Board.
Article V: Officers
Section 1. There will be three elected positions in the CUSFS: President, Vice President, and Treasurer.
Section 2. The basic duties of the elected officers are as follows:
- The President is responsible for supervising and coordinating all other officers, as well as presiding over official convocations, weekly meetings, nominations assemblies, elections, and inaugural banquets. The President is also accountable for the proper and timely handling of all important ABC documentation.
- The Vice President is responsible for the punctual creation of clever, aesthetically entertaining posters advertising upcoming CUSFS events and ensuring the availability of these posters to the membership. The Vice President will also carry out Presidential duties in the absence of the President.
- The Treasurer will supervise the CUSFS accounts and expenditures, complete all requisite finance-related forms, maintain a currentmembership list, and collect, log, and distribute all incoming mail. The Treasurer will additionally be responsible for budgetary appeals and chairthe Finance Committee (Article VII, Section 2).
Section 3. Officer nominations will take place as per Article IV, Section 4, during which time any member may announce his or her (or its) candidacy, or be nominated by another member. The candidate need not be present at the time of nomination, but should be informed of the nomination by the day of election. As per Article III, Section 1 of the Activities Board of Columbia Constitution, only members who are undergraduate students in Columbia College or the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science may hold the position of President or Treasurer, and no single member may be BOTH President and Treasurer simultaneously.
Section 4. Officer elections will take place as per Article IV, Section 4, during which time candidates will be granted the opportunity to boast outrageously about the deeds they will accomplish if elected. Immediately following, the candidates will be herded out of the room and voting will commence, as per the By-laws. The candidate who receives the most votes will hold that office for the next year.
Section 5. In the event a candidate is unopposed, the formalities of Article V, Section 4 need not apply to the election of that position, unless the candidate insists by verbally announcing, "No, really. I insist."
Section 6. Term of office for elected officials will be for one full year, from the span of one inaugural banquet to the next, as defined in Article IV, Section 6, or until an officer is removed or resigns as per Article VI, Section 1 and Article VI, Section 2, respectively.
Section 7. Certain functional positions are de jure appointments by the Board, others are de facto appointments, as defined in the By-laws. The appointed positions of the CUSFS are: Public Relations Liaison, ConChair, Events Coordinator, Librarian, Officer-at-Large, Webmaster, Keeper-of-the-Lists, Taskmaster of the Gnomish Civil Engineers Guild Post 23, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Vizier.
Section 8. The basic duties of appointed officers are as follows:
- The Public Relations Liaison will establish and maintain strong ties with other science fiction oriented clubs and businesses by seeking sponsorships, discounts, donations and alliances which will benefit the CUSFS membership.
- The ConChair will initiate, organize, and supervise all stages of convention preparation and convention related activities, as well as represent CUSFS at the actual convention. The ConChair will also chair the Convention Committee (Article VII, Section 2).
- The Events Coordinator will organize and supervise all budgeted and non-budgeted activities not already specifically delegated to other officers (i.e. organizing CUSFS social functions, establishing and staffing recruitment tables, renting commercial films and/or videotapes, recruiting guest speakers), and coordinate these activities with other organizations or University administrations as necessary. The Events Coordinator will also chair the Events Committee (Article VII, Section 2).
- The Librarian will maintain and supervise the library materials and all library related functions including maintenance of a current catalog of library media, acquiring new books and videos, restoring old and damaged books, coordinating functions with other libraries, and overseeing the lending and returning of library books and tapes. The Librarian will also chair the Library Committee (Article VII, Section 2).
- The Officer-at-Large will be appointed from the pool of members who have served as an officer in the past. The position has no specific duties, but will instead complete various tasks as directed by the President. More than one Officer-at-Large may be appointed.
- The Webmaster will be responsible for the care and timely update of the CUSFS web page, as well as the overall preservation of a CUSFS online presence.
- The Keeper-of-the-Lists will be responsible for the maintenance of a spam-free mailing list available to the CUSFS membership.
- The Taskmaster of the Gnomish Civil Engineers, Post 23 will be responsible for the assembly and disassembly of the CUSFS banner on Activities Day. The Taskmaster will also chair the Grey Ops Blitzkrieg Committee (Article VII, Section 2).
- The Sergeant-at-Arms is the large-type individual responsible for the establishment of Order and enforcement of the Rule of Law at CUSFS meetings and events. The Sergeant-at-Arms will have unrestricted access to the CUSFS armory, and will also be responsible for the upkeep and provisioning of the armory.
- The Vizier will be appointed from the pool of members who has served as either President or Vice President for at least one full term, but is no longer serving that, or any other, elected position. The sole function of the Vizier is to maintain the visionary continuity and holistic integrity of the CUSFS by serving as advisor to the President. Should consider growing a pointy beard.
Section 9. Appointments last until the officer is removed or resigns, as defined in Article VI, Section 1, and Article VI, Section 2, respectively.
Section 10. All members and honorary members are eligible for one or more appointments.
Section 11. All elected officers are eligible for one or more appointments, if so required by a dearth of qualified or interested members.
Section 12. Appointed positions may be left unfilled as the Board sees fit.
Section 13. The foregoing positions will constitute the governing body of CUSFS, managing the affairs of the society including all duties prescribed by the Constitution and By-laws.
Article VI: Officer Removal or Resignation
Section 1. Any elected officer may be impeached and removed by the membership for repeated failure to perform his or her (or its) duties as set forth in Article V, Section 2. Questions of impeachment must be addressed at an official convocation (Article IV, Section 1) and require a one-half majority vote of the membership to be considered, and a two-thirds majority to pass, under the voting procedures defined in the By-laws. The onus is then on the Board to find a new candidate for the position, and the remaining Board members are jointly responsible for the officer's duties until such time as a replacement can be found.
Section 2. Any elected officer may tender his or her (or its) resignation at any time in a letter addressed to the Board. Receipt and acknowledgment of this letter by a Board member is impetus to call an emergency convocation (Article IV, Section 1), at which time the Board may choose to accept or refuse the elected officer's resignation. If the resignation is accepted, the Board must call an ad hoc nominations assembly, to be carried out as per Article V, Section 3, and an ad hoc election assembly to be carried out as per Article V, Section 4. If the resignation is refused, the resigning officer is expected to serve until the end of his or her (or its) remaining term.
Section 3. If the resignation of an elected officer is accepted less than two weeks prior to -- or any time after -- the Spring nominations assembly, officer elections may carry on as per Article IV, Section 4, and no ad hoc assemblies are required.
Section 4. If the resignation of an elected officer is accepted after the Spring election, but before the inauguration banquet, the officer-elect in that position may begin serving immediately, in which case no ad hoc nominations assemblies are required.
Section 5. Appointed officials may be removed by general consensus of the Board during an official convocation (Article IV, Section 1). At that time the Board may appoint a replacement, or leave the position vacant as they see fit.
Section 6. Any appointed official may tender his or her (or its) resignation at any time in a letter addressed to the Board. Receipt and acknowledgment by the Board of this letter ends the term of that appointed official. The Board may at that time appoint a replacement, or leave the position vacant as they see fit.
Article VII: Committees
Section 1. The six standing committees of the CUSFS will be the Convention Committee, the Events Committee, the Finance Committee, the Library Committee, the Technology & Gadgetry (T&G) Committee, and the Grey Ops Blitzkrieg Committee. Each will convene as per the specifics set forth in the By-laws.
Section 2. The duties of these committees are as follows:
- The Convention Committee will operate under the guidance of the ConChair, and be responsible for the timely completion of all tasks relating to convention registration and attendance (i.e. hotel arrangements, CUSFS convention presence, meals, coordination of convention membership dues).
- The Events Committee will operate under the guidance of the Events Coordinator, and be responsible for the scheduling and organization of all CUSFS events which take place either on campus or in the New York environs (i.e. movie screenings, guest lecturers, book signings). In so doing, they are obligated to be aware of science fiction happenings within Manhattan, and, in turn, keeping the membership informed. The President and Vice President nominally sit on this committee.
- The Finance Committee will operate under the guidance of the Treasurer, and be responsible for the timely creation and delivery of a budget for the following year to the ABC, as per the ABC deadline. The Finance Committee will additionally be responsible for the coordination of appeals. Either the Vice President or the President nominally sit on this committee.
- The Library Committee will operate under the guidance of the Librarian, and be responsible for the upkeep and update of all library media and media catalogues, as well as the acquisition of new materials and the general maintenance of the library itself. The Library Committee is also responsible for the review and implementation of library policy, as defined by the By-laws.
- The T&G Committee will be responsible for the maintenance and security of all CUSFS technology (i.e. computers, web pages, mailing lists), as well as the implementation and review of any usage policy which they deem necessary. The T&G Committee is granted complete organizational autonomy, although The Keeper-of-the-Lists and Webmaster nominally sit on this committee.
- The Grey Ops Blitzkrieg Committee will operate under the guidance of The Taskmaster of the Gnomish Civil Engineers, Post 23, and be responsible for the successful yearly completion of Activities Day and all that it entails. The Grey Ops Blitzkrieg Committee will be additionally responsible for all subsequent situations which require either A Little Finesse (ALF), or Strategic Brute Force (SBF).
Section 3. The Chair of any CUSFS committee is empowered to conscript members by whatever peaceful means they may, including the use of guile and cunning.
Section 4. Committee members may resign at any time if they feel they can't take the pressure.
Section 5. The Chair of any CUSFS committee may remove a member from that committee if the Chair concludes that member's presence is counterproductive to the achievement of committee goals.
Section 6. Additional CUSFS committees may be formed and committee chairs appointed at any time if the Board deems it necessary.
Article VIII: Establishment and Amendment of By-laws
Section 1. By-laws of CUSFS will be established by a two-thirds majority vote during an official convocation with a quorum of members, as defined in Article IV, Section 8.
Section 2. All proposed amendments must first be made accessible to the membership along with a copy of the current CUSFS By-laws, and may not significantly deviate from the Constitution's original intent.
Article IX: Amendments to the Constitution
Section 1. Proposed Amendments to the Constitution will be circulated in writing at least one week prior to the vote on the Amendments, along with a copy of the current Constitution.
Section 2. Amendments will be adopted if favored by a two-thirds majority vote during an official convocation with a quorum of members, as defined in Article IV, Section 8.
Article X: Ratification
Section 1. This constitution will be established by a vote of a three-fourths majority of the membership during an official convocation with a quorum of members, as defined in Article IV, Section 8.
Article XI: Aftermath of a Nuclear Holocaust
Section 1. In the event of the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, the surviving members of the CUSFS shall be formed into a clan, henceforth referred to as 'the Clan.' The surviving members of the Board will reconvene under the new name of The Elders Who Remember The Time Before It Changed, henceforth referred to as 'the Elders.'
Section 2. The prime directive of the clan will be the preservation of science fiction and life, including, but not limited to, sentient life.
Section 3. The officers of the society will adopt the following roles as the Elders of the clan:
- President — Chief of the Clan
- Vice President — Rival Chief of Clan
- Treasurer — Keeper of Clan Stores and Stockpiles
- Public Relations Liaison — Marriage Broker
- Conchair — Warchief
- Events Coordinator — Potlatch Organizer
- Librarian — Keeper of the Memorabilia and Dragon Hoard
- Officer-at-Large — Keeper of the Weeds
- Webmaster — Loremaster
- Keeper-of-the-Lists — Village Crier
- The Taskmaster of the Gnomish Civil Engineers, Post 23 — Slave Driver
- Sergeant-at-Arms — Raiding Party Leader
- Vizier — Shaman
Section 4. The hierarchical committee structure will be revised as follows:
- The Convention Committee will serve as bodyguards to the Elders.
- The Events Committee will assume responsibility for village gatherings.
- The Finance Committee will assume responsibility for agriculture.
- The Library Committee will become The Ascetics of Preservation.
- The T&G Committee will assume responsibility for astrological divination.
- The Grey Ops Blitzkrieg Committee will safeguard the clan from mutant attack.
Section 5. The primary objectives (to be attempted within 24 hours of the holocaust) are to:
- Secure the Columbia University campus.
- Secure supplies from any surviving stores and hospitals.
- Secure the entrance to New York City Water Tunnel Number 3, Shaft 11b, located at Amsterdam and 120th street.
- Secure as much of Morningside Heights as deemed practical.
- Rename the Seeley W. Mudd building to the Harcourt Fenton Mudd building.
Section 6. The secondary objectives (to be attempted within two weeks of the holocaust) are to:
- Secure as much of the science fiction stock of The Strand bookstore as deemed practical.
- Secure the United States Gold Reserve which is automatically moved under New York's harbor in the event of a nuclear holocaust. This gold shall be the start of the Dragon Hoard.
- Exterminate remaining Columbia bureaucrats including, but not limited to, Board of Managers, Board of Trustees, Columbia Library Systems Staff, Columbia Residence Hall Staff, Alfred Lerner Hall staff, Joint Budgetary Committee, Low Library personnel, Class Deans, and FUSEAS administrative staff. Any member of the Clan is specifically exempted from this extermination.
- Exterminate any remaining vestiges of the ROLM phone system and the CUID card reader security system.
- Restore the nuclear reactor in the basement of the H. F. Mudd Bldg. to operation.
- Hermetically seal the remnants of John Jay dining hall to avert environmental contamination.
Section 7. The tertiary objective (to be attempted after all other objectives are fulfilled or temporarily unachievable and the survival of the clan is assured) is to begin reconstruction of The Sunball. The Sunball is to be made of green marble and is to be replaced in its proper location: the sundial adjacent to college walk.
Section 8. The long term goals (to be started after the primary objectives are completed and to be executed simultaneously with all other objectives) are to:
- Endeavor to maintain as large and varied a gene pool as possible via cautious assimilation of surviving Columbia University organizations (i.e.the post-holocaust incarnations of the Columbia University Marching Band, Culinary Society of Columbia University, Columbia University All-Star Cheerleading Squad, etc.)
- Liberate the stock of the MIT Science Fiction Society's library and transport it to its rightful place amongst the Dragon Hoard.
- Provide a safe location for the memorabilia and dragon hoard. Possible safe locations include:
- The area below level 1 of the Butler Stacks
- The Crew Tanks beneath Low Library
- The Kenechtman memorial vault in Pegram
- The pool rooms in the Gym
- The reaction containment chamber in H. F. Mudd
Section 9. All Elders will retain their status until they completely lose the mental capacity to hold office. In the case of the Chief, Warchief, and Raiding Party Leader, their authority will also be contingent upon their ability to ward off the relentless physical attacks of the Rival Chief as well as successfully thwarting his or her (or its) political machinations.
Section 10. Sanity is NOT a prerequisite for the Loremaster, Shaman, Keeper of the Weeds, or the members responsible for astrological divination, and may in fact be a detriment to the proper execution of their positions.
Bylaws (ratified on February 17, 1999)
Article I: Dues
Section 1. An annual $8 fee will be payable to the Treasurer. An updated membership card will be issued each member upon payment of dues.
Section 2. Honorary members will not be charged dues, but may periodically be solicited for donations.
Section 3. Individual members will not receive income from CUSFS unless they are being paid for services rendered in a private capacity.
Article II: Elections
Section 1. On the third Wednesday in February, at 9:00pm, a nomination assembly will be held, and the Board will accept nominations from the membership for the executive positions set forth in Article V, Section 1 of the CUSFS Constitution. Nominations may be proposed by any member or officer, and require one seconding nomination. The date and time of this assembly are subject to alteration on motion.
Section 2. On the third Wednesday in March, at 9:00pm, an election assembly will be held, and the Board will preside over the election of new executive officers. The date and time of this assembly are subject to alteration on motion.
Section 3. All voting will be done with a simple show of hands. If no candidate receives a plurality of votes, then the two candidate with the greatest number of notes automatically enter an immediate run-off election. If after the run-off election neither candidate receives a majority of the votes, then the President shall decide the election.
Article III: Appointments
Section 1. De jure appointments may be made spontaneously by general consensus of the Board, provided (except in the case of Officer-at-Large) that position is not already being filled. Appointments of this type include: Public Relations Liaison, ConChair, Events Coordinator, Librarian, Officer-at-Large, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Vizier.
Section 2. De facto appointments pertain to those which are precluded by the officer's possession of the equipment or means necessary to fulfill the obligations of the position. Appointments of this type include Keeper-of-the-Lists, Webmaster, and Taskmaster of the Gnomish Civil Engineers, Post 23.
Article IV: Meetings and Procedures
Section 1. During official convocations, all voting will be done with a simple show of hands.
Section 2. Weekly meetings will be held on Wednesdays at 8:00pm, and may include other CUSFS events. The date and time of weekly meetings are subject to alteration on motion.
Section 3. Office hours will be held weekly as per the availability of the officers.
Section 4. Library hours will be held Tuesdays from 8pm - 10pm, unless otherwise arrange at least one (1) day prior to that Tuesday.
Section 5. On the third Wednesday in April, at 9:00pm, an inaugural banquet will be held during which time the current President reads the new verses of the Ballad of The Year in Review, followed by the departure from office of the old Board and the accession of the new Board. The date and time of the banquet are subject to alteration on motion.
Article V: CommitteesSection 1. Committee Chairs determine Committee meeting times, which will be announced at the first official convocation of each semester.
Article VI: Titles
Section 1. Clothes aren't necessary, but titles are.
Section 2. The President will be addressed as Your Brilliance or Your Luminosity.
Section 3. The Vice President will be addressed as Your Resourcefulness or Your Industriousness.
Section 4. The Treasurer will be addressed as Our Hungriness.
Section 5. The Public Relations Liaison will be addressed as Your Busyness.
Section 5. The Librarian will be addressed as You Greedy Slime or El Patrón.
Section 6. The Keeper-of-the-Lists will be addressed as Your Worship.
Section 7. The ConChair will be addressed as Your Warship.
Section 8. The Events Coordinator will be addressed as Hey Toots.
Section 9. The Webmaster will be addressed as Your Highness.
Section 10. The Officer(s)-at-Large will be addressed as Your Largesse.
Section 11. The Sergeant-at-Arms will be addressed as Your Surliness.
Section 12. The Taskmaster of the Gnomish Civil Engineers, Post 23 will be addressed as Your Viciousness.
Section 13. The Vizier will be addressed as Your Craftiness.